Teachers in New York City are fearful about returning to classrooms without adequate protection for their health.

Some educators and union leaders say fear and mistrust over the partial reopening plan is pervasive…

“There’s a lot of fear and anxiety out there,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “A lot of school staff passed away. And they’re like we’re not going back unless the rules are followed, and that’s what happened in March — the rules weren’t followed.”

Mulgrew said the city has a lot of work to do before any in-person classes are viable, including its promised upgrade of school HVAC ventilation systems….

Educators say they are deeply concerned about the quality of remote learning. But some say the city would be better off allocating all its time and energy over the summer to providing training and support for online teaching rather than moving full throttle ahead with reopening questions.

“I feel like we could use this time to advantage,” said Alexander-Thomas. “Arguing doesn’t get us anywhere.”

Even teachers who are comfortable in theory with returning to school buildings this fall say the devil is in the details — many of which are still being worked out.

“I would show up in my hazmat suit,” said Liza Porter, a middle school teacher at Public School 99 in Brooklyn. But she worries about logistics like how staff will safely share a bathroom.

“We literally share a bathroom with 20 other adults the size of the smallest closet in your apartment. They would have to have buckets of sanitizer for us,” she said…

City officials have acknowledged they’ll need extra staff to handle the smaller groups of students. Schools chancellor Richard Carranza said the Education Department is scouring its ranks for central office employees with teaching licenses who may be able to step in. But with hiring freezes and layoffs on the horizon following a more than billion dollar cut to the Education Department budget over fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the staffing shortages could grow worse.